Genealogy FAN Research or Cluster Research

FAN Research

FAN Research is researching the people that cluster around your ancestor: friends, associates and neighbors. It is used most often in assisting genealogists to go around the brick wall in their research.

How to do Cluster Research

  1. Cast a net
    People lived and interacted in communities. You need to know the communities they lived in. Why people moved there, why did they move away?
  2. Cast a larger net
    What church religions were prominent, or were not present at all in the community? Which churches did your ancestor attend? Read history books about the community you are searching and stop focusing on just your specific family.
  3. Cast the net further
    Be dogged in your research. You may have to go back many generations with the FAN families to resolve the brick wall for your family.

Video’s for Further Explanation

  • Locating Your Ancestors Using Cluster: — James Tanner
    Cluster research may help you find those ancestors that are not so easily found. Time-55:30
  • FAN Club Research to Build Your Family Tree: — Christa Cowan
    Revered genealogist, Elizabeth Shown Mills, coined a phrase that explains a genealogy methodology we should all be familiar with – “FAN Club.” Join Crista Cowan for a look at how the study of your ancestors’ Friends, Associates and Neighbors can help you learn more about your own family history. Time-13:54
  • How to Use Cluster Genealogy a.k.a. FAN Club Research: — Connie Knox
    Learn how Cluster Genealogy, a.k.a. the FAN Club works (as coined by Elizabeth Shown Mills) and how it can help you break down your brick walls. This is a proven strategy for genealogists at any level. In this episode 21, learn how to use cluster research to further your family history. Genealogy TV with Connie Knox. Time-7:39

This material was first published by the Amelia Island Genealogical Society in February 2019 in Geneline.

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